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Hawaii’s Restaurants Hope to See Green

New color-coded placards informing diners about food-safety violations are about to appear in Hawaii restaurants.

The rule was implemented in February, but the Hawaii Department of Health wanted to spend a few months educating restaurant workers before requiring them to comply. The placards are now expected to be posted by the end of July.

Green placards are for when no more than one major violation is observed during a routine inspection. The violation must be corrected at the time of inspection.

Yellow placards will be posted when a major violation remains uncorrected or when two or more major violations are observed, if corrected at the time of inspection. A follow-up inspection will be conducted within two business days to ensure compliance. If no major violations exist, a green placard will be posted.

Red placards are posted when there’s an imminent health hazard observed or when a permit is suspended. Examples include sewage overflow, no hot water, rodent/vermin infestation, or severe unsanitary conditions. The red placard has to remain posted and the restaurant closed until a follow-up inspection confirms that the hazard no longer exists.

The goals of the program are to reduce the occurrence of foodborne illness, increase compliance with the food code, and inform the public of the most recent inspection results.

Along with posting the placards, restaurants in Hawaii have other new rules to follow such as renewing their permits every year instead of every two years, not allowing bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, and posting warnings for diners that consuming raw or undercooked foods can increase the risk of illness.

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